High income families to lose baby bonus, family tax benefit

The baby bonus and Family Tax Benefit Part B will no longer be paid to high income families as part of the Federal Government's attempt to better target the welfare system to families who need help the most.
From January 1 next year, a means test will apply to families with a combined income of $150,000 a year or more.

If the primary earner earns $150,000 then the family will lose Family Tax Benefit Part B, a change expected to affect about 40,000 families.

About 16,000 families are expected to no longer receive the $5000 baby bonus after a new means test is introduced.

On January 1 the means test will be based on the family's income in the six months following birth on a pro rata annual basis equivalent to $75,000 over that six-month period.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Jenny Macklin, said the changes would make the family payments system "simpler and fairer".
(STEPHANIE PEATLING) http://esperance.yourguide.com.au

Miracle Flintshire baby lives to see his fifth birthday


Published Date: 04 August 2008
A Flintshire boy who was born prematurely and defied all odds to survive is celebrating his fifth birthday.
Andrew Jones, who turns five on Wednesday, was one of a pair of twins born three months premature in 2003.

Sadly Andrew's sister, Alisha, died 15 days after they were born.

The bright and happy youngster from Greenfield in Holywell, has come on in leaps and bounds in the past five years, and his tiny size is a constant reminder of his brave battle for life.

His mother, Donna Jones, 27, today said she is just so glad her son is here after everything the family has been through.

Donna said: "I can't believe he's five because he's still only little.

"Doctors say it's normally the girl who's the fighter, but it was Andrew who was stronger."

After being in and out of hospital in the first year of his life, he is now doing fine.

"We nearly lost him at three months, it was a scary time and he's been through a lot," added Donna.

"With us nearly losing him, his survival is like a miracle and I'm so grateful to have him."

Now Andrew is old enough to understand what happened to his sister, he often talks about her, calling her "an angel."

Donna said losing Alisha was a sad loss and said: "We'll be sitting there and he'll say, out of nowhere, 'mum, is Alisha in heaven, is she an angel?'

"When he talks about her, I think he must have some sort of connection with her.

"Sometimes I think Alisha has jumped into him because he's got such a big personality and he's so lively, he's always on the go."

Donna added that she has had to remain strong for her children throughout.

She said: "It's made me stronger as a parent.

"With his sister gone, I had to be strong for Andrew."

Andrew is a pupil at St Winifred's Primary School and has three brothers, Joshua, nine, Kyle, six, and Samuel, three.

For his birthday, Donna is taking him to Dinosaur World in Colwyn Bay and the family will be going on holiday as part of the celebrations.

Home-birth baby dies

A NEWBORN died after a woman ignored the pleas of doctors and nurses and gave birth at home without medical support.

The tragedy, which has been referred to the coroner, confirms the fears of maternity experts who are alarmed at the trend of women shunning the health system in favour of risky, unsupervised home births.

The baby died last Sunday three days after the mother presented at Nepean Hospital. Doctors found the baby was fine but warned the woman she was at high risk of complications, including the rupture of a scar from a previous caesarean. They said they wanted to induce labour immediately.

She refused and returned to her Blue Mountains home where she later gave birth to a stillborn baby.

Two doulas, who are not medically trained but provide emotional support for women before and during childbirth, and a qualified independent midwife were called but arrived too late.

The baby's father told The Sun-Herald the doulas had told him the baby was stillborn due to an infection contracted inside the womb.

He said: "Would the baby have lived had we been in hospital? I have no idea. The suspicion is that there was an infection prior to birth. I'm told it was a freakish occurrence that happens one in a thousand cases."

The man said his wife was "in a very bad way".

"I don't know what is going to happen during our recovery process but we have to try to move forward," he said. "We [already] have a beauti- ful boy. He is everything to live for."

One of the doulas present at the birth said: "I can assure you, this wasn't home birth-related. There was an infection a long time before."

The Australian College of Midwives supports home birth with a qualified midwife and hospital nearby for low-risk pregnancies.

Spokeswoman Hannah Dahlen said midwives were equipped to monitor the fetal heart rate, give antibiotics, resuscitate newborns who are not breathing and organise a transfer to hospital in an emergency.

But the college maintains that "freebirthing", where women give birth at home without a doctor or midwife and no clinical monitoring or emergency resources should anything go wrong, is too risky. Associate professor Dahlen said in this case the woman had been traumatised by a previous hospital experience and feared she might be forced into induction or a caesarean. Against medical advice, she made a last-minute decision to leave hospital and go home and soon after the baby died in the womb.

Dr Dahlen urged the Government to endorse and fund home births officially so women did not rush into freebirthing.

"If we fix the system we won't have women resorting to a last-minute panicked decision like this," she said.

"The increase in women freebirthing is a symptom of a system that does not give women choice. We're seeing more and more of these concerning incidents in the last two years. It has to be addressed, and urgently."

In a discussion paper on maternity services released by Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon last week, the college joined a number of groups lobbying for midwives to have access to Medicare provider numbers.

Alison Leeman from Homebirth Access Sydney said there were about 10 independent accredited midwives who supervise home births in Sydney for a fee of about $5000 each.

A spokesman for NSW Health confirmed the department was aware of the case but said: "Patients have the right to decline medical intervention or treatment, as well as the freedom to choose where, when and from whom they will receive medical advice and assistance."

An autopsy will be held but experts say the baby probably contracted Group B streptococcus.

In Australia, GBS testing is routine at 36 weeks and women who test positive are given antibiotics to protect the baby.

Source: http://www.smh.com.au

How To Prepare For Your First Baby


 How To Prepare For Your First Baby

Tags: nursery, furniture, baby, parent, cot, changing table, designer nursery, babies, toybox, wardrobe, 

Planning for your first baby is a happy and frightening event. You want your newborns bedroom and the nursery furniture to be flawless, but it is vital to think about you and your baby 's comfort and wellbeing first. It 's therefore vital to ponder the dangers a nursery can present when designing your newborns first room.

The initial thing to fit to a new nursery is a smoke detector, for just a couple of pounds (or free from your community fire prevention officer) these must have gadgets should be your first consideration. When your child begins to crawl it 's important that any spare electrical outlet is covered with a simple plastic socket protector to prevent your inquisitive baby from sticking his fingers. It 's also a good idea to locate bedroom furniture in the way to prevent your baby from finding sockets.

Your baby 's cot is the item of nursery furniture where she will spend the most time for her first months. Cots are also one of the major causes of infant harm and death so it is essential to make sure your cot follows the recommended safety standards. Your cot should be deep enough so your baby is unable to climb out. Check that the spacing between the rails is not capable of permitting the child to trap their head.Ensure that cots with lowering sides lock automatically and cannot be worked free by the child.

It 's important that used cots are checked out thoroughly for damage to fastenings and fixtures and that you buy a brand new mattress for your baby. It 's also vital to check the mattress is a snug fit and leaves no more than a 4cm gap around the outside to prevent your child from becoming trapped.

Remember to place your newborn down to sleep on her back to lower the dangers of SIDS and refrain from using cushions or overly fluffy bed clothes in the cot. When using a nightlight make sure it is placed away from the cot and any other soft furnishings

Try to place your nursery furniture in a way that prevents positioning things in front of windows. Also steer clear of positioning anything that can assist your child to stand on to peer out of a window. Window locks are a fantastic way to make certain your youngster 's windows can only be released by you. If you have to open a window to permit ventilation make sure the window is secured and never open more than 5cm, there are fastenings on the market that stop windows from being opened wide enough to allow a child to climb out.

Another item of baby furniture responsible for numerous baby injuries is the changing station. Always fasten your child firmly with the changing station 's safety straps and never leave her on the table unattended. Keep your changing gear out of baby 's reach. Babies and toddlers are instinctively inquisitive and nappy sacks or rash creams are potentially dangerous.

Rather worryingly one of the most common causes of harm in a child 's room are curtains and blinds. Avoid using long curtains or drapes that may ensnare and suffocate a small toddler and never hang blinds with lengthy cords in your baby 's nursery. If you do use blinds, be sure to fold the strings out of the way high above baby 's reach and never place nursery furniture your baby occupies, like her cot or the changing table, near the blinds.

Choose your toy storage carefully. Toy boxes should be fitted with safety hinges or lightweight fabric lids to stop fingers from being trapped. As your baby gets older, she may climb inside the toy chest, toy box and a weighty lid could trap her so it 's important they be fitted with safety hinges or lightweight lids. Drawers are also potentially dangerous and ideally should have a soft close function. Doors also pose a danger to little digits and all doors should be fitted with child safe mechanisms to stop small digits from becoming damaged

By following straight forward advice and making sure their furniture complies the appropriate standards new parents can produce safe, chic and welcoming bedrooms for children and babies for their new baby.